The Revolution fell to Philadelphia, 1-0, at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., in their second game of the season to extend their all-time record against the Union to 0-5-3. A mental lapse that led to a Jack McInerny goal in the 76th minute, combined with a lack of finishing and disjointed ball possession, ruined the Revolution's (1-1-0) chances to start off the season with consecutive wins.
Bobby Shuttleworth started in place of Matt Reis (knee) in goal and performed admirably, making three saves. Shuttleworth made the initial save on the play that led to the goal, blocking an open, point-blank header by McInerny off a Sebastien LeToux corner kick. But McInerny remained unmarked on the follow-up attempt and poked his rebound into the goal to end the Revolution's 166-minute shutout streak.
Though the Union pressed for most of the second half and appeared to have the upper hand, the Revolution defense remained resolute and defended effectively. Although leaving McInerny open may have been the only lapse, it was costly.
"We had one play we gave up on one of their really good goal scorers," AJ Soares said on the Revolution website. "McInerney has proven he can finish a ball with his head really well. We gave him a little too much room and he punished us.
"They had that one set piece. You know, set pieces determine the game a lot of times and you got to get in the black on those. We gave up one and didnít score any so thatís how the game goes."
Offensively, the Revolution faded in and out of the game. They had chances in early in the first half, then struggled to get forward until after Philadelphia scored.
Lee Nguyen had a 25-yard free kick caught by Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath in the 22nd minute. Moments later, Nguyen sprung Jerry Bengston on a breakaway but his low drive was stopped by MacMath.
The Revolution had triple the chances of the Union in the first half, mostly because they were more accurate and positive with their passes. Shuttleworth also walked into halftime without having made a save. But the tables turned in the second half.
Philadelphia sharpened its passing and put heavy pressure on the Revolution back line. The New England defense dealt with the Union for a majority of the second half, though Shuttleworth was eventually called to action.
He stopped LeToux's sliding effort in the 70th minute, taking a cleat to the stomach in the process. Next, he blocked a drive from Michael Lahoud from just inside the penalty area in the 75th minute.
Then, Philadelphia scored on the ensuing play through McInerny. The goal ended up being McInerny's third career winner against the Revolution.
With less than a quarter of the game to play and defeat looming, the Revolution piled on the pressure. They nearly came up with an instant response. In the 78th minute, Nguyen sprang Juan Toja, who ran into the box unmarked and curled a shot just wide of the far post. The Revolution didn't get anything else from their 11th-hour attacking efforts, except for a volley by Bengston from inside the penalty area that went well wide of the target deep in stoppage time.
"I thought we were a step better in the first half but in the second half we couldnít get into the game until they scored," said Revolution coach Jay Heaps. "After they scored I think we had good chances, I thought we could cut the game to one to one.
"We are disappointed we gave up the goal at the end. I thought we played well enough to get a point and get out of here but itís a tough way to lose a point on the road."
The Revolution will see Philadelphia twice more this year as part of a three-game, regular-season series. Their next chance is April 27 at Gillette Stadium.
The Revolution will try to bounce back for their home opener against Sporting Kansas City next Saturday. For the Revolution, it's a matter of eliminating lapses and finishing chances.
"We had the chance that it could have been our night," said Soares. "Iím happy we created those chances, our attack is looking good. If us as defenders keep defending hard and keep providing the guys up top with good balls, they are going to do some stuff and I think our results will be more positive."
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